The Anatomy of Evil: How to Sin in 2 Easy Steps

That fruit must have looked so good.

Imagine the beauty of Eden: the deep greens of the flora dotted with brightly colored fruits of all sorts.

Imagine the sweet, intoxicating smells that occupied the air.

Imagine the soothing sound of rushing water that flowed from the four rivers in the garden.

Imagine how good everything tasted.

Everything Eve had sampled to this point was amazing--each new food tasted better than the last.

But there was that one tree.

It seemed always to be staring at her, shouting at her. Even when she looked away, she could feel it there.

And she wanted it.

This is the genesis of the first sin and of all sins, the first of two steps.

All Things Are Created Twice

In Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he espouses the concept that “all things are created twice.”

This is the idea that everything we create, we first create in our minds.

Take a sculpture, for example.

The artist pictures in her mind what she wants the sculpture to look like. She may even do some sketches before ever touching the clay.

Covey’s point is that this applies to our actions as well. If we don’t have a blueprint for what we want to do with our lives, then our actions will be the result of external influences or internal emotional pulls.

Jesus Said the Same Thing

This concept enlightened me and excited me. It was so profound.

Then I realized that this was not the first time that I had heard it. Jesus basically said the same thing about sin:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person. Matthew 15:19-20

Jesus said that before we physically commit sin, the evil thought has already come from our hearts. Before we murder someone, we hate him first. Before one commits adultery, he lusts first.

All things are created twice.

Even sin.

Step One: Imagine

So the first step of every sin is to create the blueprint for that action in our mind.

Look at the first sin as an example.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Genesis 3:6

Before she committed the sin the scripture says that she saw the fruit was good and pleasing and desirable for gaining wisdom. At this moment, something happened that is not recorded in the Scripture. It doesn't need to be in the text because every human who has sinned (i.e. everyone) knows what happens after she saw it was desirable but before “she took some and ate it.”

She lusted after the fruit.

This is her mental creation. She imagined what it would taste like. She imagined how she would feel after eating it, being enlightened, being “like God” (Gen. 3:5). She imagined all of these things.

And she wanted them.

Step Two: Lie

But she knew it was wrong.

Just moments earlier she told the serpent, “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die’” (3:3). She knew it was wrong.

So she had to lie to herself.

This is the second part of the process: lying to ourselves or believing another’s lie.

When confronted by God about her actions Eve responded, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (3:13). Her response is technically true, because he did deceive her, but that is not why she ate. You see the serpent did not try to argue the fact that she was not supposed to eat the fruit. Instead he debated the consequences of eating:

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

Despite this argument from the serpent, she still knew that God had told her not to eat the fruit. The serpent did not argue that fact, because he knew she would reject it. Instead he led her down a path of deception. She ultimately had to lie to herself—he just made it easier for her.

The exact lie that she believed is unknown; it could have been more than one. But it was probably something along the lines of these:

God may have told us not to eat the fruit, but I can deal with the consequences.
God loves me, so He would not really punish me.
God wants to keep good things from me.
One bite will not hurt.
No one will know.

All sin is created first in the heart; it is out of the heart that we are defiled.

All sin begins with a lie, and because God is Truth, sin removes us from Him (John 14:6).

What happened after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? They were immediately extricated from the garden, removed from God’s presence (Gen. 3:23). Eve may have told herself that she could live with the consequences of disobeying God, but she was dead wrong. How can mankind live when separated from Him who gave us life? This is what God meant when he said that she would surely die. Sin separates us from God who is life. Therefore sin separates us from life itself.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Do not let yourselves be deceived. We can't live with the consequences of sin.

We can only live by the grace of God.

And one of the best ways I know to avoid the pitfalls of sin and temptation is to spend more time with God.

King David wrote, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). And we become like the people we hang with most. Why not spend some more time with God?

If you've ever struggled with being consistent in prayer and Bible reading, you should check out my guide called, How to Establish a Habit of Daily Quiet Time with God. This is the system I implemented through trial and error that has led to years of daily Bible reading and prayer.

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  1. Great post! I love the perspective of everything being created twice. I had never thought of it in this way but it makes complete sense. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Kimberly! If you haven't read the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, I definitely recommend it.